Easton Hargrave has nothing to lose in a freestyle wrestling match tonight.
The Tumwater senior wrestler, ranked No. 2 in the state at 189 pounds, will take part in an all-star wrestling match at Emerald Ridge High School, facing a national champion from Japan in one of two 190-pound matches.
Opening ceremonies for the freestyle tournament begin at 6:30 p.m. The event features an all-star lineup of wrestlers from eight area high schools against a Japan Cultural Exchange team on a tour of the state. All of the Japanese wrestlers have placed in the top three in their national tournaments.
Twelve of the 13 Washington high school wrestlers participating are ranked by WashingtonWrestlingReport.com, and eight of them placed in the top three at last year’s Mat Classic, including Hargrave, who was runner-up at 171 pounds.
“I do feel that we have put together a solid lineup of local high school athletes competing,” Emerald Ridge coach Jim Meyerhoff said.
Hargrave is familiar with Meyerhoff and some of his Emerald Ridge wrestlers. So when Meyerhoff called Hargrave last week to ask if he wanted to participate in the unique event, Hargrave didn’t turn him down.
“It will be an experience,” Hargrave said. “It will show a different level of competition.”
Hargrave, who has wrestled since the age of 4, is used to freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. He wrestles nine months out of the year, and plays football the other three months. He was a first-team all-state defensive lineman on the Thunderbirds’ state championship football team in 2010.
Hargrave has at 13-1 record this season. His only loss cam against Connor Hartmann of South Kitsap, the state’s No. 1-ranked wrestler at 189 pounds, an 8-2 decision Dec. 30 at the Pacific Coast Championships.
It was a tough loss, Hargrave said, especially since he has defeated Hartmann in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Hargrave hopes to make it a competitive and memorable match against his opponent tonight.
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 email@example.com www.theolympian.com/prepsportsblog